Plus One

The 11 best Usher songs

Why have a Top 10 when you can have one more? Here are our 11 favourite Usher songs, ranked

Following his juggernaut Super Bowl Half Time feat earlier this month, Tennessee and Atlanta-raised Usher has reaffirmed that he’s not just a regional hero, but a global daemon. The R&B titan has long-been tied to the realms of superstardom, but has seen a revival across the last four years; one that has allowed newer audiences, as well as long-term members of his fandom to witness his greatness via his Las Vegas residencies. 

Moving from its inaugural run at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace to The Park MGM in 2022, its revitalised edition drew not only fans, but peers such as Keke Palmer, Doja Cat, Queen Latifah and Halle Berry to witness a legacy act in action. 

As the heartthrob of R&B, Usher’s music makes you feel. It’s the essential logic behind his three decade-plus career in music. From My Way’s ‘Nice And Slow’ to Confession standout ‘Burn’, Usher Raymond’s devotion to women, love, accountability and robust introspection pulls audiences close into his lover-boy universe. 

As he releases his ninth studio album, Coming Home, and gears up for his return to the UK, we look back on the 11 Usher songs that hit the hardest. 

11. Say What U Want

(“A”, 2018)

On the oft-forgotten project A, Usher displays his dynamism alongside sole producer and trap extraordinaire Zaytoven. Sometimes, their collaborative effort pales in comparison to wholly Usher-fronted projects, but ‘Say What U Want’ grips the ear instantly, demanding a place near the top of Usher’s expansive portfolio. Like a tango, the pair find common ground, Usher’s falsetto guiding the song’s path to redemption. Minimalist in its production, Zaytoven’s piano keys grip Usher’s voice. A boundless articulation of Usher’s willingness to expand his palette on his terms.

10. I Care For U

(Looking 4 Myself, 2012)

You can’t discuss Usher’s career without acknowledging his partial segue into electronica. Many will point to one of his biggest hits in this space ‘OMG’, or the euro-pop leaning ‘DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love’, but ‘I Care For U’ pulls to the fore. Beyond its infatuation with UK dubstep, Usher is on top form. The lyrics are sharper than the aforementioned singles and Usher’s might as a vocalist makes the hybrid number a compelling addition to Usher’s discography.  

9. Pop Ya Collar

(Pop Ya Collar, 2000)

Every artist needs a feel-good, motivational number. Usher has many, but ‘Pop Ya Collar’ strides into the room with unmistakeable allure and appeal, turning every head as it goes. Do the lyrics and callouts verge on cheesy in places? Absolutely. But the supremely confident delivery makes it work.

8. Bedtime

(My Way, 1997)

Not one of My Way’s formal singles, ‘Bedtime’ is a diamond in the rough, nested in the third act of Usher’s sophomore album. Crafted with R&B patriarch Babyface, ‘Bed Time’ acts as a flawless slow-jam. Tender in its composition, flirtatious in its inclusion of gospel backing, and rich in vocal performance, it’s secretly one of the best representations of who Usher is – an unapologetic crooner. 

7. Twork It Out

(8701, 2001)

The meticulously delivered ‘Twork It Out’ is a heartfelt, soft and honeyed ode to the intersection of love and lust. Produced by powerhouse duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, ‘Twork It Out’ already came with a large proportion of the ingredients needed for generational appeal. Smooth and succulent guitars make the song instantly balmy, emphasising Usher’s yearning for and dedication to his lover. 

6. U Don’t Have To Call

(8701, 2001)

Dynamism is a crucial part of Usher’s success, not just in performance but in his musical ear too. Aptly aligning with the unorthodox appeal of Chad Hugo and Pharrell’s The Neptunes, Usher Raymond stood tall among the sirens and funk-infused bass of ‘U Don’t Have To Call’, his orotund lower and upper registers shining. Welding Usher’s R&B offering onto alternative hip-hop makes for a compelling addition to 8701

5. Love In This Club (and Love In This Club Part II)

(Here I Stand, 2008)

Usher’s always been one to view the club as his personal paradise; a place where dreams, love and temptation mingle. Here, Usher faces this truth head on again, fusing his sound with trap with the aid of Jeezy, one of the genre’s founding fathers. The beauty of ‘Love In This Club’ is its adherence to traditional remix culture, reworked by Soundz and given a plush groove by the addition of Usher’s true peer Beyoncé. An Usher classic. 

4. You Make Me Wanna

(My Way, 1997)

Another of My Way’s standouts, ‘You Make Me Wanna’ has ascended to one of the most notable tracks across Usher’s career. It nods to the darker side of his loverboy image, ruminating on dangerous thoughts, wanting to have his cake and eat it too. Whether Usher knew it at the time or not, the track foreshadows his legacy-making Confessions album. Even seven years earlier, it’s the sign of a bona fide all-rounder in waiting. 

3. Foolin’ Around

(Raymond V Raymond, 2010)

Usher’s universe isn’t strictly tied to R&B and ‘Foolin’ Around’ is yet another strong example of Usher playing with elements of rap. From speaking to lightly rapping, he emphasises that this is “the realest sh*t” he’s ever written. Production from a trio of music’s strongest architects – Bryan Michael-Cox, Johntá Austin and Jermaine Dupri – help exemplify that Usher Raymond deserves to be regarded as musical royalty. 

2. U-Turn

(8701, 2001)

Beyond showing us the extent of his own abilities, Usher has continually used his platform to spotlight others. Peppered in the lyrics of ‘U-Turn’ are odes to forebears such as Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown and in its accompanying visuals are tributes to the late Aaliyah and Tupac. A bold display of legacy in action from an act that was clearly destined to ascend to the same heights.

1. Burn

(Confessions, 2004)

Sometimes, you need the closure that comes with accepting your fate. ‘Burn’ is an essential record in Usher’s archive; a number that’s sobering and solemnly raw on every play. Usher is scorned and conflicted here and ‘Burn’ perfectly conveys every thought and emotional stage of a break-up. Its matter-of-fact confessions leave no room for containment; its confrontation of the depths of pain make it a quintessential addition to R&B’s extensive canon of break-up songs. Usher’s finest hour. 

Get tickets to Usher’s 2025 UK tour dates here.